Summer Reflection

I can't believe today is finally my last day of summer. It literally feels like yesterday that it was just May and I was graduating from high school -- but now it's almost September, and here I am, starting college tomorrow! I had both a relaxed and productive summer, and I'm excited to share the things I have accomplished these past couple of months.

e n h a n c e d  t h e  b l o g  +  s o c i a l  m e d i a
A lot of changes definitely happened to the blog and my social media this summer. I rebranded from Private School Prepster to Lilly & Lemons, I participated in more tweet chats, I set up a blogging planner that works for me, I created my own media kit, and I found a blogging schedule that makes my life a whole lot easier. I really put a lot of time and effort into both my blog and social media -- I spent more time connecting with other bloggers + entrepreneurs, and I got back into posting consistently. I even helped one of my good friends, Jess, create her own blog! I'm thrilled with how smooth everything has been and I can't wait to continue on this blogging grind throughout the school year!

w o r k e d  l i k e  c r a z y
I worked a lot this summer, which I was actually really happy with. I worked between 4-6 days per week, averaging anywhere between 25-35 hours. Getting up at 3:30 each of those days was a killer, but working at a coffee shop does have its perks! I earned more money, saved more money, and had more money to do fun activities. I'm happy to know that I'll continue working throughout the school year.

i m p r o v e d  h e a l t h
My health improved this summer, which is a goal I've had for a while now. I've gone to the gym more, drank more water, and made healthier eating choices. I've noticed that I've cut a significant amount of soda out of my diet and replaced it with more water instead. And instead of snacking on chips when I'm hungry, I'll have a protein bar or a yogurt. It took a lot of determination, but once I created a habit, I was golden!

r e a d  m o r e
I absolutely love to read because it's so relaxing and it's such a stress reliever. I always get so disappointed that I rarely have the time to read during the school year, so I was thrilled that I had a ton of time to read as much as I wanted. I read a ton of books that I never would have gotten to read earlier on in the year!

What did you accomplish this summer?

Bloggers + Entrepreneurs You Should Be Following

Participating in multiple tweet chats lately has allowed me to meet and connect with a ton of fabulous creative entrepreneurs + bloggers. Their jobs and businesses have made me realize that I would love to do something like that as a side job one day -- help other creative bloggers + entrepreneurs with starting up, branding, social media, and more.

Not only are these ladies so cool, but they are so inspiring and helpful! I have spent hours looking through their blogs reading up on blogging and business tips and tricks. Their insight, knowledge, and experience is incredible. I hope you find as much help from them as I do!

Who are your favorite creative bloggers + entrepreneurs?

Easy College Snacks

After finally receiving my schedule and realizing that I only have a solid 15 minutes in between each class, I knew that I needed to come up with ideas of easy snacks to keep with me when I get hungry. I know that a lot of professors don't care if you eat or drink in class, but I don't want to be that girl that is loudly opening a wrapper and distracting the rest of the class. So I had to discover snacks that I could easily munch on while walking to and from class.

p r o t e i n  b a r s
I have been obsessed with protein bars this summer! They're so healthy and so easy to travel with. I always have a couple in my bag in case I get hungry while out, which really prevents me from stopping to buy unhealthy snacks. Protein bars are also really filling; I can have one for breakfast and be full for the next couple of hours, preventing that embarrassing loud stomach growling from happening. I don't like to buy boxes of certain kinds because I like to switch up the flavors that I eat, so buying them singly is the best! They can easily fit in the pouch of any purse or backpack.

N a k e d  s m o o t h i e s
I love Naked smoothies. These are definitely filling, and I especially love them after a workout or first thing in the morning. I only bring these with me if I plan on drinking them within a decent amount of time; they're supposed to stay cold, and they really don't taste very well when warm. Highly recommended for when you just don't feel like making your own smoothie!

c r a c k e r s
I've always been obsessed with peanut butter, and peanut butter crackers are my weakness. I either buy the peanut butter crackers that are already made, or I buy crackers and peanut butter separately and make my own. It would probably be easier to have the ones already made for college, but they are definitely handy!

n u t s
All throughout high school, one of the snacks in my lunch was a 100-calorie pack of almonds. I love almonds, and they are perfect for a quick snack when you're feeling hungry. They're not that filling, so be sure to keep a couple of packs or other snacks around!

What are quick and convenient snacks you like to eat?

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, gals! Hope you've had a great week. I can't believe this is my last weekend of summer before I start college on Tuesday -- eek! Enjoy my weekly roundup of favorite links. Have a fabulous weekend! XO

Perks of Working At A Coffee Shop

As some of you may know, I have a part-time job at a coffee shop. This is my first "real" job (babysitting being the first), and I've worked here for over two years now. I'll admit that there are definitely some drawbacks to this job -- dealing with annoying customers, occasionally working with lazy people, and only getting minimum wage.

But honestly, I love my job! It's a fairly easy job and definitely something that can give me pocket money until I graduate from college. Although it may not seem ideal, there are definitely some perks to working at a coffee shop.

e a r l y  h o u r s
I worked a lot this past summer, but I have a more set schedule once the school year starts. I'll be working Friday-Monday from 4:15 AM-11 AM. And yes, I will be getting up at 3:30 each morning to get to work on time! I honestly consider going to work super early in the morning to be a perk; I'm out by 11 AM which means I have the rest of the day to do whatever. If I work the afternoon shift (11-4), my whole day is gone. If I work the night shift (4-8), I have to end any plans during the day early so I can go to work and I can't have plans at night. I've always been a morning person, so the early shift just works for me!

t i p s
I'm lucky to work at a coffee shop that accepts tips. On weekday mornings I easily earn anywhere between $30-$40 in tips -- which is crazy because I work with three other people! My tip money is my spending money while my paychecks go in the bank for car insurance. Although I only make minimum wage, I technically make more because of tips.

f r e e  c o f f e e
Yes, I'm a coffee addict, and yes, I get coffee for free at my job! So many people ask me why I'm not sick of coffee yet since I'm always around it -- I guess that's how I know I'm a true coffee addict #SorryNotSorry. It's usually so busy in the morning that I don't have time to drink a whole coffee, but I'll pour myself a cup once I open so I can wake up a little bit. I sometimes like to bring myself an iced coffee home to drink while I'm reading or blogging. And my mom totally loves that I can bring her an iced coffee, too! I also get to have almost any food for free -- so my dad always appreciates the fact that I always bring him home blueberry muffins.

j o b  r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s
This job teaches basic responsibilities. I've learned to wake up and get to a place on time. I've learned how to count the drawers and set it to $100. I've learned a lot of memorization skills (there are so many different types of coffees, sandwiches, etc. to know how to make!). I've learned how to clean and keep things neat. And most importantly, I've learned social skills. Besides the regular customers, I'm constantly dealing with people I don't even know -- which means I constantly have to be friendly and helpful. Being forced to be social will definitely help when I go to networking events and need to talk to employers!

What are the perks of your current job?

Advice For High School Seniors

I start college in less than a week (eek!), but it literally seems like I just graduated from high school yesterday. Senior year was probably the best year of high school for me -- I barely stressed, I did so many fun things with friends, I did well academically, and I was genuinely happy.

The thing with senior year is it just doesn't automatically become the best year ever, unlike what HSM 3: Senior Year (yes, I am guilty of loving that movie) makes it seem like. You have to make your year the way you want it, and you have to focus on a little bit of everything.

d o  n o t  s a y  n o
One thing that I really focused on during senior year was not saying no to plans. I had the best friends and I realized that I would definitely miss them in college, so I wanted to make the most of the time I had left with them. I found a way to get around each excuse I was making with them so I could end up going out with them! Too much homework? Do it before you leave and after you get home, no matter how late you have to stay up. Too tired? Go to bed early the next night. Have to work? See if you can switch around your schedule with someone else. Don't say no to a simple opportunity because they'll end up adding up in the long run.

a t t e n d  e v e n t s
Any event that your school has that you're interested in, go! Sports games, dances, fundraisers, etc. are the best things to attend. I attended some hockey games and basketball games because our teams were really good and everyone went, so it made watching the game fun! And I went to every football game because Tyler was on the team. Homecoming and prom are crucial too -- who doesn't love the chance to buy a gorgeous dress?! Attend whatever you would like and bring your friends, too -- you'll be surprised at how much fun you end up having.

s h o w  s c h o o l  s p i r i t
I didn't really show school spirit until senior year and it made me realize how much I missed out on. My high school was really big into celebrating Halloween; every year it's a huge tradition to come to school on Halloween dressed up in a costume, and the best costumes get noticed! Some of my friends and I decided to dress up as tourists this past year and it was awesome. We went the whole nine yards with old Polaroid cameras, Hawaiian shirts, fanny packs, socks and salads, etc. and we ended up winning as one of the best costumes! Attend in spirit week and go all out. It'll be even more fun if you get your friends to go crazy, too!

d o  n o t  s t r e s s
My senior year was definitely my less stressful year of high school, which is weird because it's supposed to be the most stressful due to the endless amount of college stuff and making sure your grades stay good. I didn't worry about my grades that much, and it made my year so much better. My grades weren't perfect and my grades weren't bad -- they were just good. But I was okay with them not being perfect because I still graduated as eighth in the class -- something that was a huge accomplishment for me! Accept things for how they are and don't sweat the small stuff.

d o  n o t  p r o c r a s t i n a t e
Don't procrastinate on anything related to college. Write your college essay as soon as you decide on a prompt, apply to schools during any free time, and fill out any scholarships/financial aid forms as soon as you find out about them. You may seem like you have a while before any of those are due, so you'll put them off. But then you'll get so caught up in senior year that deadlines will come and you'll realize you didn't get anything done -- and then the stress will come. Get everything done as soon as you can and then you'll be able to enjoy your time later!

What advice would you have for high school seniors?

Favorite Tweet Chats

I used to participate in tweet chats all the time during my sophomore year of high school when I didn't have a job and was really motivated with my blog. Unfortunately, I fell out of participating in them the following two years due to losing motivation to blog, getting a job, and not having much free time.

I liked the tweet chats that I participated in, but I always felt out-of-place and harder to connect with others due to my age. I was only 16 while almost everyone who also participated in them was significantly older than me -- usually in their 40s and 50s! I wanted to find tweet chats that had people closer to my age, but I never found the time to research.

Becoming more active on my blog and social media this past summer has fortunately allowed me to find more tweet chats that I genuinely love. I'm connecting with young millennials, learning new things about blogging + business, and having a great time! I've found myself penciling these tweet chats in my blogging planner so I don't forget to attend. If you follow me on Twitter, you may see that I encourage my followers to attend the chats while I'm in them -- I hope you all will join me!

M O N D A Y S -- #creativecoffeehour @ 9 PM EST
By the time Monday night comes around, I am dead due to working Friday-Monday from 4:15 AM-11 AM. But I always find the energy later on thanks to #creativecoffeehour! This chat is run by the lovely Callie Gisler, a social media manager and digital strategist. #creativecoffeehour focuses on uniting other creatives to discuss blogging, branding, and business. Follow Callie on Twitter to learn more!

T U E S D A Y S -- #createlounge @ 8 PM EST
#createlounge is run by the wonderful Kayla Hollatz, a digital strategist who also works in social media + media relations at a PR agency. This chat focuses on working with other creative bloggers and entrepreneurs to talk about blogging, branding, business, social media, and more. Follow Kayla on Twitter to learn more!

T H U R S D A Y S -- #ellechat @ 8 PM EST
#ellechat is run by the fabulous Lauren Hooker, a graphic designer and blogger. This chat focuses on chatting about business, blogging, and design with other bloggers and entrepreneurs. Follow Lauren on Twitter to learn more!

What are your favorite tweet chats to participate in?

How To Schedule Your Blog Tasks

After blogging for almost three years, I've finally created the perfect blogging routine. Out of all of the things I've learned from blogging, one of them is that you can't do everything you need to do for your blog all at once. In order to make sure your content and pictures are your best quality, it's a smart move to divide your blog planning into three separate days.

S U N D A Y -- post ideas + pictures
I like to reserve Sundays (or Saturdays for you if you have the time) for brainstorming post ideas and taking/creating pictures for the following two weeks. I'll sit down with my blog planner and fill in post titles with key points to include for each day. This will give me an idea of any pictures I need to take/create! If I have a couple of outfits that I want to feature, I'll use Sunday for the shoots. Some bloggers prefer to do only shoot for a day, but I like to do multiple outfit shoots at once to get them over with. If I have any posts that I need to create graphics for, I'll spend time doing that as well.

T U E S D A Y -- blog posts
Tuesday is when I write the actual blog posts, which takes the most time. I spend at least half an hour on each post due to writing, editing, implementing pictures, etc. I'll write and edit the posts for the next two weeks and make sure they're scheduled and ready to go! Making sure the blog posts are complete allows me to prepare social media posts, which is for the following day.

T H U R S D A Y -- social media
Thursday focuses solely on social media -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I use a social media calendar to write the date of each post, the time of each post, the platform of each post, the goal of each post, the content of each post, the picture of each post, and the link of each post. It's a lot to consider, but it seriously helps. Twitter and Facebook are the only platforms I use for my blog every day, so already knowing what I need to post on these sites is extremely helpful. I use Pinterest every time I have a picture in my blog post, but I don't always use pictures in each blog post. I use Instagram the least, but I would like to use it more. And of course, already having pictures to use is really helpful when making these posts! After I have my social media calendar filled out, I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets and I use the scheduling feature on Facebook to schedule posts.

This schedule works well for me, but it may not work well for everyone! It took a lot of trial and error to finally find a routine that felt just right to me -- which may be the same case for you. One tip is to utilize your free time -- use any extra time to get blogging tasks done! I didn't really need to follow this schedule this summer because I had so much extra time that I didn't really need to worry about getting things done; they just happened. But once school starts, I need this routine to keep me on task and motivated!

How do you schedule your blog tasks?

How Magazines Inspire You

It's no doubt that magazines are a great source of inspiration. Whenever I'm at the store, I can't help but leaf through the magazines that are at the register -- and then end up buying one so I can read more of it. They're the perfect pick-me-up for a rainy day, bad day, or uninspired day -- here's why!

o n e  || blog posts
Magazines definitely inspire blog post ideas for me. As a blogger, I'll admit there are days that I'll sit down with my blogging planner, ready to come up with blog ideas, and just can't. Magazines are great for solving this problem. I'll pick one up at the store and leaf through it. Then I'll come up with blog post ideas from anything I liked in the magazine -- fashion trends, fitness tips, new foods to try, etc. A magazine is full of ideas when you have none!

t w o  || fashion trends
Fashion magazines are full of fashion trends, obviously. I do like to know what trends are in this season (especially fall trends -- the season is right around the corner!) because I do end up liking some of them. If you're looking for new clothes to buy, magazines give a lot of great options with people modeling them!

t h r e e  || beauty products
I definitely don't have an established makeup routine, which is something I definitely want to get into as I get older. I want to do more than just the usual mascara and they occasional eyeshadow and lipstick. Magazines write about the fabulous beauty products that you should be trying and using -- and they usually come at a reasonable price!

f o u r  || fitness tips
Some magazines have fitness tips and easy workouts to do, which I love. I'm always looking for simple ways to change up my workout routine, and these are a great outlet for that. Magazines give quick and easy-to-follow workout routines that you can do right in your own home if you don't have a gym membership! They also have healthy recipes to try and sometimes even diets.

How do magazines inspire you?

Current Goals

I haven't shared my current goals for a while, so I thought it would be fun to talk about them! My goals are usually very broad to make them easier to accomplish. I've always felt that setting goals is important; it motivates a person and gives something to look forward to.

o n e  || have a good freshman year
My first day of classes is September 1st -- eek! I'm extremely nervous but also very excited. Attending college will definitely be way different than attending high school, but I think I'm ready for this next step in my life. I'm hoping to have a good year overall -- in terms of academics, friends, and work. Here's to a new beginning!

t w o  || drink more water
I've definitely cut back on my soda intake this past month, which I'm really happy about. I've noticed that I kind of forget to drink water though -- I don't even realize when I'm thirsty. My goal is to constantly have my water bottle near me so I'm reminded to keep drinking. Lemon water is my weakness so adding a few lemon wedges would be a huge help!

t h r e e  || earn more money
As some of you may know, I've made the decision to continue working during the school year. I'm hoping to not only earn money through the part-time job I've had the past two years but also through other means. How can I monetize my blog more? Are there any freelance opportunities for me to pick up? This goal will involve lots of researching and learning, but it will totally be worth it.

f o u r  || post consistently
I've definitely gotten back into posting consistently on the blog, especially after I rebranded. It has been really easy to keep up with blogging this past month or so because it's summer and I've had the time! I'm really worried that I'll fall out of my blogging grind once school comes around -- especially because I'm going to have to juggle college, a social life, work, and sleep. I'm determined to set up a blogging schedule that works for me to make sure I don't take a blogging break again!

f i v e  || read two books per month
I've mentioned a few times that I always read a crazy amount of books over the summer because of all of the time I've missed during the school year. I've always been a bookworm, and reading has such a great effect on me. It relieves my stress and relaxes me, which are two things I need to have once school starts. I want to try to read two books per month. I think it should be manageable because it averages out to one book every two weeks -- let's hope I can read more than that!

What are your current goals?

Friday Favorites

Hey lovelies! Hope you've had a great week and here's to an even better weekend. Enjoy this round-up of fabulous links I've found over the past week! XO

How Bloggers Find Blog Post Inspiration

I'll admit that for me, one of the hardest things about blogging is trying to come up with new blog post ideas all the time. There are some days where I literally cannot write down my ideas fast enough because they just keep coming, and there are some days where I am sitting at a blank computer screen for 20 minutes with nothing coming to mind.

I would totally take the days where the ideas are flowing nonstop over the days where my brain is basically a desert with tumbleweed rolling across it. And I think that pretty much every blogger can relate to that -- we can all relate to the days where we hit that blank mind and can't seem to get out of it. So, to prevent that God-awful thing known as writer's block from happening in the future, I thought it would be fun to ask some lovely bloggers how they find inspiration for their blog posts!

Personally, I find inspiration for my blog posts three different ways: magazines, what's going on around me, and other blogs. Magazines are awesome to get inspiration from, especially as a fashion blogger! I don't think there has ever been a time where I'm flipping through a magazine and not at least one blog post idea has popped into mind. Magazines discuss all of the latest trends, which are perfect to feature on a blog. My outside environment and what's going on around me probably influences me the most. Everything that I do in life somehow works its way into a blog post. For example, when my graduation was close, I wrote a post about graduation dresses. Or when I bought my first pair of boyfriend jeans and fell in love, I posted about the cutest pairs of boyfriend jeans. I took things from my life and brought them to the blog! Lastly, I find inspiration from other bloggers. I follow so many other fabulous bloggers that it's hard to not be influenced by them! There is a fine line with this, though -- you don't want to be influenced by another post so much that you basically write an extremely similar post to theirs. Use their ideas to create your own ideas. For example, if you saw a blogger's outfit post featuring a cute new pair of booties and you got the inspiration to write a blog post rounding up the cutest pairs of booties for the fall, that's totally fine. Just make it your own! My final advice for finding inspiration: keep your eyes open and look around you.

If you're looking for ways to get blog post inspiration, feel free to use my methods or check out what these bloggers have to say!

"To find inspiration for my blog posts, I think about what I personally would like to read or what would catch my eye. Most of the time, whatever is going on in my life (back to school, graduations, etc.) is relevant to many of my readers. I always say write what you know!" -Cristina, Cristina on Campus

"Whenever I'm at a loss for what to post, I always look through the camera roll on my phone. I can draw from life and recent events that I've documented for post ideas, which I just did for a recent post about my favorite coffee places in my hometown!" -Ellen, A Pop of Pink

"Whenever I need inspiration for a post, I  go to Pinterest and look at random pins to inspire me.  {is it bad that I use Pinterest more than google?} I also check out posts from my favorite bloggers and merge ideas together for my own post." -Margaret Mary, Whaley in Love

"I try to blog about things relevant to my life at that moment, which definitely eases the blogging 'pressure,' but sometimes I have days that I want nothing to do with blogging. Seriously, I'll sit down and try to write something up just so that I can post, but I end up staring at a blanks screen for hours. One trick I found that works for me is using Pinterest. Not only searching Pinterest for inspiration from outfits, colors, and designs but for learning. Pinterest has an un-countable amount of blogging resources and I love learning anything I can about blogging and for whatever reason, learning something new about the blogging world gives me inspiration to write even when I've hit a dead end!" -Rachel, Seashells + Sparkles

"Pinterest, is a god sent. Pinterest is always a great go to when you feel like you need to get those creative juices flowing! I also have been really lucky to have traveled a fair amount this year. Traveling and exploring new places always inspires me. I always feel like I find myself the most inspired when I am doing something I love and trying something new!" -Shannon, Prep Avenue

“I find my inspiration in a lot of different places, but it is most definitely from reading articles, other blogs and books! Pinterest and Tumblr are also great places for me to find inspiration as well. Other than reading and looking at photos, I look at my own life and what I’m going through. If I can help someone else by giving them insight into my own life, then I feel like I’ve done my job as a blogger!” -Ashley, Purple and Pearls

"The way I find inspiration for new content is to take a few minutes and look through some of my favorite bloggers' sites! They're always my biggest inspiration and push me to create content that will inspire others as well!" -Dana, Pink Champagne Problems

How do you find blog post inspiration?

Fall Trends

Although I love summer and the cute clothes that come with it, I can't help but get excited for fall. I love shopping for fall clothes because the weather is crisp + cool -- which calls for lightweight and neutral-colored clothing. After wearing a school uniform the past four years, I have realized that I have barely any clothes for fall -- which is a huge problem considering I'll be in college!

While looking for clothes to buy for fall, I've noticed four major fall trends that I'm loving: olive/army green jackets, boyfriend jeans, booties, and camel bags. Shop my favorites below!

O L I V E  +  A R M Y  G R E E N  J A C K E T S

B O Y F R I E N D  J E A N S


C A M E L  B A G S

What are your favorite fall trends this year?

#AfterPartySale Purchases

As always, the Lilly Pulitzer #AfterPartySale killed it. It's one of my favorite times of the year just because the prices are just way too good to pass up. I ended up buying 11 items (WAY more than I expected but I can use the excuse that I need clothes for college, right?!), for only $464. I'm not sure how much they would've been full price -- but I know it would've been at least $1250!

I'm in love with everything I got and can't wait for them to come in!

If you shopped the sale, what did you pick up?!

How To Create A Media Kit

I've shared the reasons why you should rebrand your blog and the steps on how to rebrand your blog, but now it's time to talk about one of my favorite things: how to create a media kit!

A media kit is vital for any blogger to have, especially after rebranding. A media kit essentially helps you to create sponsored post opportunities with brands; it reveals the best possible statistics and information about you and your blog. In other words, a media kit can make or break your blog. It's absolutely necessary to have a media kit that's visually appealing; you don't want your media kit to be the typical black and white design, but you also don't want it to have so many colors and images that it's hard to follow.

I thought it would be really helpful to post a picture of my media kit to demonstrate how it's done! I kind of just created my own template and layout, but these ones are some really great examples of other options. Follow the numbers on my media kit for step-by-step directions!

o n e  || logo
The first thing on your media kit should be your logo. A brand wants to know who exactly they could potentially be partnering with, and your logo tells them your blog's name right off the bat.

t w o  || short description
Put a small picture of yourself with a short description. I basically just told my name, the name of my blog, what type of blog it is, and when I created my blog. Feel free to switch up what you include, but make sure that it's short! The picture and description really gives the company a good visual of the gal behind the blog.

t h r e e  || blog + social media stats
This is probably the most important section! Include any relevant blog stats -- such as your average monthly page views and average monthly unique users. I used Google Analytics and Blogger to get these stats. (P.S. Google Analytics is awesome to use when consulting with a brand because if they ask for statistics within a certain time frame, you can do that!) As for social media, include the followers/likes of any social media platforms you find relevant. I only included Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Bloglovin' because those are the only social media platforms that I use for my blog. If you have a lot, choose the ones that you feel represent you and your blog the best.

f o u r  || sponsorship rates
This is different for everyone, but you should include a section on your media kit with your rates. Brands like to know how much you charge before they agree to work with you. You can choose however many sponsor options you would like, and you can set whatever price you feel is best! I used sponsored post, sidebar ad, product review, product giveaway, and trunk show.

f i v e  || past sponsorships
Choose five of the biggest companies you've worked with so far and list them. Brands like to see who else you've worked with to know if you're legit. Make sure to have a separate list of all of the brands you've worked with in case the company would like to see more!

s i x  || contact
The brand needs a way of contacting you if they are interested. I chose to leave my email, phone number, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook page. The company would probably choose to contact you via email instead of Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, but it's a good idea to include your handles for those social media platforms in case the company would like to take a look at them.

s e v e n  || design (optional)
I had extra space at the end that I wanted to fill up, so I chose to put three pictures from my Instagram. Doing something like this is a good idea because it shows the company your picture-taking and editing skills, and it subtly shows the company more about you. I love the beach, I love writing to-do lists, and I love reading, so those three pictures really described me.

e i g h t  || updated (optional)
I decided to put in the footer when my media kit was last updated. Doing so shows that you are on top of things and have been updating your blogging info. This is also really helpful if a brand wants to work with you when they've already worked with you before. For example, if you worked with a brand in March and they have a copy of your media kit from that month and they want to work with you again in August, then they can compare your March media kit to your August media kit to see how your blog and stats have grown!

Extra tips ...
- Keep printed copies of your media kit. I like to have physical copies with me in case I meet a brand in person who would like to work with me. It would be easy to just grab your media kit and hand it to them!
- Update monthly. Update your media kit every month. It's important to track the growth of your blog and social media from month to month!
- Shorten size to one page. Just like a resume, shorten the size of your media kit to one page. Brands don't have the time to sit and scroll through multiple pages! Having all of the important information on one page makes it easy and quick to read.

Have you created your own media kit?

Sunday Well Spent Brings A Week of Content

I've always considered Sunday to be my "rest day" -- time to relax from the past week and rest up for the upcoming week. Even in the summer, my life seems to be go-go-go. I've noticed that using my Sunday to just relax and take a break has really helped my energy in the long run. I wake up on Monday feeling energetic and ready to take on the week!

I'm a firm believer in the notion that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. There are a few things that I like to do in order to get the most out of my relaxing Sunday.

o n e  || read
I love to read. I always struggle to find time to read during the school year, which is why I always make sure to read tons of books in the summer. I'm vowing to read more this school year because it definitely relieves stress and gives me a break from staring at a screen. On Sundays, I prefer to read in the morning and when I go to bed so that I'm in my most relaxed state.

t w o  || catch up on TV shows
I don't watch too much TV, but I love Netflix. I'm currently on season 6 of One Tree Hill and I am obsessed! I've found it extremely easy to just watch five episodes in a row without even realizing it -- oops. Watching Netflix on a Sunday afternoon, especially when it's raining outside, is the best!

t h r e e  || blog
A lot of bloggers consider blogging to be a full-time job; and I guess I could understand that. Blogging is also considered to be "work" but I actually find it to be really relaxing. I love to set aside time on Sundays to get my blogging organized for the week by coming up with blog post ideas, writing blog posts, and planning social media posts. And if there is a good tweet chat taking place on a Sunday night, I like to participate in that too.

f o u r  || sleep
The most important one -- sleep! By the time Sunday rolls around, I am exhausted. I love to spend the day in my pajamas with a cup of coffee. I always make sure to go to bed early on a Sunday night -- no later than 9! This makes sure that I not only catch up on the sleep I lost over the past week but also get rested up for the week ahead.

How do you like to relax each Sunday?


After hearing many stories about being a stereotypical broke college student, I decided last year that I was going to do everything in my will to make sure that I didn't fall into that stereotype. So, I chose Stonehill (which happened to make #9 on the Princeton Review -- YAY!) not only because it's an amazing school but because of its proximity to my part-time job I've had for over two years.

Yes, college is going to be an absolute blast no matter what. But isn't it going to be even more enjoyable knowing that I'm not completely broke? Knowing that if a friend wants to grab dinner, I don't have to decline due to not having money? Knowing that if J. Crew is having an awesome sale, I can actually treat myself to one or two things? Those will be worth it to me.

So many people find it odd that I want to continue working through college, but I don't. There's nothing wrong with the fact that I want to be financially stable throughout my four years of college. In fact, I think it's actually a smart move because then I'll have at least a small amount of money saved up for when I graduate so I can get an apartment ASAP instead of having to wait to make a decent amount of money.

Yes, I realize it's going to be a struggle. I work five days a week as it is -- which consists of waking up at 3:45 AM for each of those five days due to the fact that I work in a coffee shop. But the fact that I get to work at 4:15 AM and leave at 11 AM is actually extremely convenient because I still have the whole day ahead of me. I'm fortunate enough to have a job that is willing to work around my school schedule. I'm also looking into some freelance jobs so that I can earn extra money while at home. My days are going to basically be work, school, study, sleep, repeat. But you know what? I'm okay with that because I know that it'll all be worth it in the end. I've been able to balance the gym, work, school, my boyfriend, my blog, my friends, and sleep throughout high school, so I know that college won't be much different.

I definitely consider myself a #girlBOSS, and honestly, I'm proud of my work ethic. There shouldn't be any shame in that! It may be hard now, but I know that when I have that diploma along with extra money saved up, I will know that hard work really does pay off.


Friday Favorites

Hello lovelies -- happy Friday! Happy that the weekend is here but sad that I only have a couple weeks left of summer -- and only a couple weeks left with my friends before they all leave for college. I'm going out to dinner by the water with friends tonight but today I'm working on getting sh*t done!

I've rounded up a bunch of links that I've loved over the past week for all of you to leaf through. Enjoy! XO

What links have you been loving this week?

Maine Weekend

Those of you who follow me on Twitter saw that I was on Maine this past weekend, and it was definitely one of the best times ever. My dad's side of the family heads to my aunt's beach house for a weekend each summer, and it is always one of my favorite times of the year to look forward to. Each time is always full of fun, food, and family.

My cousins have had a Maine house for almost my whole life, but they recently sold and bought a new one a couple of years ago. They completely redid the house over the past year or two to basically double the size -- and it is now gorgeous.

My favorite thing about their beach house is to get the beach, you literally just have to walk into their backyard, walk down the stairs, and BOOM!, you're at the beach. So this weekend was, quite literally, spent at the beach the whole time.

This weekend was the perfect balance between relaxation and fun. My family is full of the funniest people I've ever met, and I don't think there was a single time that I wasn't laughing for the three days... or eating! From enjoying laughs with my relatives while sitting around the fire listening to family stories at night to sitting outside with a cup of coffee at 6:30 AM reading a good book, I was able to relax and enjoy myself this weekend.

Nobody wants to leave by the time Sunday comes around, but by that point, everyone is already looking forward to the following year. The best thing about my life is that a lot of my best memories involve the people I started my life with: my family.

How To Set Up A Blogging Planner

Over my past three years of blogging, I've tried numerous ways to organize my blogging ideas in the best way that works for me... and let me tell you, this has been full of trial and error. My original blogging notebook didn't seem to work, and my second blogging notebook didn't seem to work either. I hate being in a blogging rut, which I had been in for the last couple of months in school. I knew that when I graduated and summer started, I really needed to buckle down and get a grip on my blog!

For me, I need to see lists and schedules in front of me to truly feel motivated. I knew that I needed to find a way that would work best for me when it came to keeping track of everything having to do with my blog. I have finally come up with the perfect method -- third time's a charm, right?!

I use a large planner that's about the size of a notebook for scheduling blog posts. I wanted something big because I need a lot of room to write down everything I need to include in each blog post. Plus, this agenda is pink and gold -- the perfect color combo to stick out to me!

The agenda is divided into two parts: a monthly overview and a weekly overview. There are gold tabs on the side with each month, making it easy to quickly find the month you need. I like to use the monthly overview and weekly overview for two different purposes so that it's not repetitive -- plus, the more excuses to use this agenda, the better!

The monthly overview contains general things that would affect my blogging life. I love to use brightly colored pens on the monthly overview to really make each note stand out. In this section, I include the dates of sales, tasks I need to complete, and important dates. I always like to write a blog post about my favorite items from a sale, so as soon as I find out about a sale, I write down its start date and draw an arrow to its end date. This allows me to see which date I should post about the sale before it ends. The tasks I need to complete are planning social media posts, planning pictures for blog posts, and scheduling blog posts. Reserving these tasks for certain days allows me to devote time for getting things done! I also write down important dates. For example, I wrote on Monday, 8/10 that my giveaway ends that day. Or if I'm attending a blogger event, I'll write that down. If I'm working with a brand, I'll write down the deadline of that collaboration. It all depends on what I find is necessary!

The weekly overview is more specific to my blog posts. In the first line of each day, I write the blog post title and highlight it. Below the title, I write important points to include in the post and notes to myself about the post. This is really beneficial to me because I can see a week's worth of posts that I need to write.

Along with using my planner to write down my blog posts, I use Google Calendar. My Google Calendar is very broad -- I only write the title of each post of each day. This is really helpful for when I'm on-the-go! Because my planner is so large, I'm not always able to carry it everywhere with me. My Google Calendar syncs to my phone so that when I come up with a blog post idea on-the-go, I can write it in my calendar and quickly transfer it to my planner when I get the chance. And when I have my laptop but not my planner with me, I can use Google Calendar to see which blog posts I need to write next when I have the chance!

I'm amazed at how well this method has worked for me. It may not work for everyone, but it has definitely helped with my blog, especially after rebranding!

How do you use your blogging planner?

Back To School Bags

The fact that I start college in just a couple of weeks is absolutely terrifying yet so exciting. One of the things I'm most excited about in order to prepare for school is finding a new school bag! I used the same bag for all four years of high school, and by the end of my senior year, it was literally tearing to shreds.

I wanted to make sure that I find a bag that lasts me throughout college -- especially because I know I'll have a lot of books and supplies to carry around with me. I've rallied up my three favorite bags that would be perfect for going back to school, whether you're in high school or college!

I chose neutral colors because they will definitely go with just about anything you wear -- although I love my pops of pink, I just don't feel like a bag that is completely pink would be practical for me because I want to make sure that I at least somewhat match! The Tory Burch tote, North Face backpack, and Longchamp tote are definitely three durable bags to have.

I haven't chosen which bag I want (should probably get on that...), but I have a feeling I'll go with the North Face backpack. It's so practical and will definitely be able to fit my laptop, textbooks, snacks, water, etc. Although I have to admit that I may need to purchase the Tory Burch tote to use as a fall/winter bag ... #SorryNotSorry.

Which bag are you getting for school?

Kate Spade Fall Favorites

I love my Lonchamp tote dearly, but sometimes the size is just a little too big for me when I only want to take a few things out with me. I've been on the hunt for the perfect bag that's a smaller size, and Kate Spade's new fall items have stuck out to me!

The hardest part is deciding which one to get, so help a girl out!

Which item from the line is your favorite?

Design Darling Birthday Sale Favorites

The Design Darling Birthday Sale has officially launched and lasts until tomorrow! Use the code PARTYTIME to get 20% off your entire order. I'm totally obsessing over these fabulous items, and I'm hoping to snag a few!

one // two // three // four // five // six

What are your favorite items from the sale?

How To Stay Healthy During the Summer

Honestly, I'd have to say that staying healthy during the summer is really easy and really hard at the same time. I have way more free time on my hands than I do during the school year, so I find that I'm able to go to the gym more and grocery shop to look for healthy yet delicious foods. However, once I start hanging out with Tyler or friends, I find that I'm eating out a lot and not exactly being as healthy as I plan to be.

There are a few simple guidelines that I like to follow so I make sure I'm living a healthier lifestyle!

o n e || drink more water
I have definitely drank more water this summer than I have been during the school year. It may be because of the super hot weather and the fact that I get very hot while working out, but my water intake has definitely increased. Lemon water is my absolute favorite type of water, and I find myself throwing some lemon wedges in my CamelBak daily!

t w o || find the healthy food alternatives
I used to rarely go grocery shopping because my mom always does it, but I have been grocery shopping for myself a lot this summer. This may be just me, but I feel like grocery shopping for yourself is so much more beneficial because you're forcing yourself to buy healthy food, and you make yourself eat it because you don't want to waste your own money! I have been buying food from the gluten-free aisle a lot and totally loving what I'm eating -- granola bars, cereal, pretzels, etc. Shocking that foods that are really healthy can actually taste really good, right?! And when I go out to dinner with T or friends, I find that I've been choosing a salad over my usual steak.

t h r e e || work out
I've definitely been on a work out grind lately! On the days that I work, I prefer to go right after work so I don't sit around and become too lazy to go. When I'm not working, I like to go first thing in the morning so I can get it out of the way!

f o u r || get some sun
Get out there and get some sun! Too much sun isn't good for you though, so make sure to use sunscreen. Unplug for a little while by laying out by the pool with a good book or heading to the beach with friends!

f i v e || discover your summer drink
Besides lemon water, I have totally been obsessing over Starbucks's iced green tea! It is seriously addicting. I guess I should consider it a blessing that the closest Starbucks to me is 20 minutes away because if I had one closer to me, there is no doubt that I would blow all of money there. It not only tastes good, but it's also super healthy! Find your summer drink that is healthy yet tastes good, too.

How do you stay healthy during the summer?

Beach Bag Essentials

Today I'm leaving to head to the beach for the weekend and I could not be more excited! I'm going to my cousins' beach house in Maine with my dad's whole family, a tradition that we do every year. They have a private beach in their backyard (so cool, right?!), so my whole weekend will legitimately be spent at the beach!

If I forget something for the beach at the house, I could legitimately just walk up the stairs leading to their lawn and into the house to get it. However, that's such a hassle so I like to make sure I'm always prepared. There are just some essentials that I can't leave for the beach without!
o n e || beach bag
I have the cutest beach bag that I snagged during Lilly's endless summer sale last year! Since the sale is basically at the end of summer, I haven't had a chance to use it yet. It's huge, and I know it will fit everything I need!

t w o || reusable water bottle
I have a pink CamelBak that I love to use because it's way easier than carrying a case of water around. I almost always have my CamelBak full of lemon water or just regular water -- perfect for staying hydrated at the beach.

t h r e e || sunscreen
Although I like to pretend that I will tan, I know I won't. I will basically get burnt ... VERY burnt. I carry sunscreen with me whenever I go outside because nothing is worse than having a painful sunscreen, especially while on vacation!

f o u r || sunglasses
I can't be seen without my sunglasses in the summer! I hate being outside and having to squint just to see because the sun is so bright. I absolutely love my RayBan Wayfarers, and I know they'll get good use this weekend!

f i v e || summer reads
I'm such a bookworm during the summer, especially while at the beach! There is just something so peaceful about sitting in a comfy chair with the sun shining on you while reading a good book at the beach (especially when they are summer reads for every mood!). Last time I went to Maine, I legit read for like 9 hours straight while on the beach ... #SorryNotSorry. I went to the library a couple of days ago to pick up some more books for Maine, but I have a feeling I'll need to go again before leaving today!

s i x || snacks
What's better than snacking on the beach? I've been eating way healthier lately, and I've discovered a new obsession with organic granola bars and protein bars! I'm definitely going to bring some up to snack on because being in the sun always makes me hungry.

s e v e n || headphones
When I don't feel like reading at the beach anymore, listening to Pandora or Spotify is always relaxing. It's a good idea to bring headphones so that way everyone else around you doesn't have to listen to your music too! However, I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up watching a couple of episodes of One Tree Hill on Netflix ... I'm just obsessed!

What are some things you like to bring to the beach?

What Every Blogger Needs With Them

I never leave the house unprepared because you never know when you'll need something related to blogging. Yes, I think of my blog as a 24-hour job ... #BloggerProblems. Whether you're a professional blogger or you're just starting out, there are a few necessities that you should never leave your house without as a blogger!

o n e || notebook
My blogger notebook has everything I could possibly need related to blogging -- blog post ideas, collaborations, to-do list, outfits to wear in shoots, etc. I always bring my notebook with me because you never know when inspiration is going to strike! Out and about at the bookstore and picked up the perfect summer reads that you just have to blog about? Write it down. Shopping and bought the cutest new outfit that you want to show off? Write it down. Some bloggers prefer to write blogging things down in their notes on their phone, but I'm pretty paranoid that one day I'll lose everything on my phone, so I like to keep a physical copy.

t w o || iPhone
This one is obvious, because I don't think a blogger is ever seen without her cell phone #BloggerProblems. I keep my cell phone with me not only for obvious reasons but also to check emails, post on social media, and even snap some pictures to feature on Instagram and/or blog posts.

t h r e e || planner
I keep two planners with me -- my personal planner that I use for school, work, etc. and my blogging planner that I use to write down blog post dates and collaboration deadlines. It's nice to carry this around with me if I have some free time while out (aka sipping my venti iced green tea unsweetened in Starbucks #SorryNotSorry) to sit down and do some planning!

f o u r || camera
One thing I don't have that I am dying to get is a professional camera. However, if I did have one, I would totally bring it with me everywhere because I am always looking to take outfit photos. My boyfriend and I have gone to so many places this summer that are the perfect location for outfit photos, but we're rarely able to take pictures just because the camera quality on an iPhone isn't so great. Having a camera handy is perfect for those spontaneous quick-take-a-picture-beacause-my-outfit-is-super-cute-today-and-this-location-is-awesome moments!

f i v e || business cards
I haven't had the chance to make business cards for Lilly & Lemons yet, but when I had some for Private School Prepster, I brought them everywhere with me -- especially to events meant for bloggers! You never know when you're going to run into another blogger, a reader, or a small local business owner interested in working with you. It's super easy to just hand someone a business card instead of verbally saying all of your information to them!

What do you think every blogger needs to have with them?